Best Friend Thief

Best Friend ThiefBest Friend Thief opens with Nathalie and her best friend Reagan making plans for the beginning of 5th grade. They have great plans for the International Costume Contest that the school holds every year—a plan that is sure to win!

But when school starts, Blair Bennett, one of the popular girls, latches on to Reagan. At first, Nathalie tries to deal with the disruptions to her plans, but eventually it starts to wear on her and she pulls away from Reagan. When Blair and Reagan partner up for the International Costume Contest, Nathalie is devastated and has to decide how best to respond.

The tone is cute—occasionally Nathalie addresses the reader or includes side comments, which gives it a conversational feel. Nathalie doesn’t always make the best decisions, but overall she’s easy to identify with. My daughter is finishing 5th grade, and some of these issues seem similar to the kinds of things I see her and her friends deal with.

SPOILER ALERT: Things you might want to know before suggesting this to your kid


Boys are a non-issue in this novel. In fact, Nathalie won’t talk to her dad about her friend issues, because he’s a guy and therefore can’t possibly understand what she’s going through. Boys do gross things, almost like they aren’t quite human.

Nathalie isn’t a huge fan of math, but her friend Catherine loves math. In fact, the girls all kind of fit into recognizable stereotypes, but this isn’t necessarily a negative—it feels more like shorthand for understanding the group dynamic. And none of the girls is seen as better than the others.


This novel is all about friends. There’s a group of four girls—Nathalie & Reagan and Catherine & Izzy. The story focuses on what happens when another girl enters this clearly structured group. Catherine and Izzy spring to Nathalie’s defense when Reagan seems to turn on her. Isabel is ready to pretty much go to war, but Catherine isn’t ready to turn on Reagan and tries to get everyone to talk things out. Pretty much all the girls make questionable choices at some point in the story.


Not talking ends up being a major issue. I often thought Nathalie was jumping to incorrect conclusions, although apparently she was more often right than I suspected—it seems Reagan really did send Nathalie a text that was supposed to go to Blair. A lot of drama could have been avoided, though, if the girls had just talked about things instead of assuming they knew what was going on. Nathalie tries a few times, but never manages to follow through. It’s only after Reagan confronts Nathalie that they finally start to clear the air.

Peer Pressure

Izzy convinces Nathalie that she ought to steal the scarves for Reagan and Blair’s costumes out of Reagan’s locker, because the scarves actually belong to Nathalie, and Reagan didn’t ask if they could use them. Nathalie at first agrees, but then has second thoughts—she’d rather win legitimately, and she knows her own costume entry is really good. But in the end, with Izzy’s urging, she does steal the scarves. Little does she know that the scarves are the costumes, which ruins Reagan’s presentation much more than Nathalie intended, especially when Blair calls in sick rather than pulling something together last minute.


Reagan gets up on stage by herself with the objectively awful costume she pulled off overnight. She’s ridiculed and abandoned by her partner, but she gets up there none the less. In return, Nathalie hands in the scarf costumes with a note asking that these be graded rather than the robe Reagan had thrown together at the last minute. Given the chance to tell on Nathalie, Reagan chooses not to.


This is a cute story that girls in late elementary and middle grades can probably identify with. Those who struggle with the all-too-typical friendship fluctuations may recognize themselves within the story. It’s fairly short but deals with 5th grade issues, so it might be good for reluctant readers. The Between Best Friends website allows some interaction with the book, the author, and future books.

Best Friend Thief by Laurel-Ann Dooley
Published in 2011 by WordWorks Publishing, LLC
A Between Best Friends Book
Read on Kindle


Speak Your Mind